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Man free after arrest on refuted shooting accusation

October 2, 2018

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A man who spent nearly two months in jail after being accused of shooting at a Louisiana police officer was freed Tuesday, as evidence indicated that only the officer fired a gun.

Raheem Howard, 21, had faced a charge of attempted murder of a Baton Rouge police officer. But, about three weeks after the arrest, a prosecutor later said there was insufficient evidence for the charge. The Advocate reported that — although the officer claimed Howard fired first — audio from the police car’s rear camera and a neighbor’s surveillance video supported Howard’s claim that only one gunshot was fired after the Aug. 7 traffic stop.

Nobody was injured. Howard insisted he never had a gun and the Baton Rouge district attorney said last month that he wouldn’t be prosecuted because there was no solid evidence showing he had one or fired one.

Howard remained in jail until Tuesday because his probation was revoked in two separate, prior cases, in which he had pleaded guilty to flight from an officer and simple assault.

The officer who fired the only shot in the Aug. 7 incident, Yuseff Hamadeh, was initially placed on paid administrative leave, but later returned to desk duty.

“Officer Hamadeh currently remains on a non-enforcement restricted duty,” a police spokesman, Sgt. Don Coppola Jr, said Tuesday in an email. “This investigation remains ongoing.”

The newspaper reported that Hamadeh fatally shot a man in June 2017 after a traffic stop. In that incident, police have said, Hamadeh shot Jordan Frazier after Frazier exited the car and turned and pointed a weapon at officers.

Howard said he ran from the officer in the August incident because the officer had yelled that he would kill him.

“I ran for my life,” Howard said.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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